Novel ‘Folklore & Fiction’ Cocktails @ The Monarchy, Tras Street

You know them from books and films, and now you can enjoy them as cocktails. Thanks to the ingenious bar team from The Monarchy at Tras Street, iconic British fictitious characters the likes of Harry Potter, Sherlock Holmes, and Mary Poppins are now available as “one-of-a-kind, quintessentially British” cocktails.

Located in the heart of Tras Street, The Monarchy is styled like a typical British cocktail bar with its walls bedecked with huge portraits of iconic royal figures such as Princess Diana and King Henry VIII (by American artist Alex Wakefield). It opens till late on most days, so it is a popular after-work / after-dinner spot for cocktail lovers to hang out at.

Cheers to British Folklore & Fiction

For the launch of their new Folklore & Fiction cocktails, The Monarchy produced a gorgeous 16-page leather-cover, storybook-like menu filled with water-color illustrations of the 14 fictitious characters who inspired their newly-concocted cocktails. Just look at the cool pages for iconic spies Austin Powers and James Bond pictured above.

Harry Potter’s “Butterbeer”

Each invited guest was given two tokens to order the cocktails we wanted to try. My first choice was their version of Harry Potter’s “Butterbeer”. The “original” Butterbeer I consumed at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Orlando, USA, is purely a delicious root beer sundae made to look like foamy dark beer (they do have to consider the younger fanbase…) So it was quite cool to try a Butterbeer that has real alcohol in it! The Harry Potter cocktail contains Copper Dog whiskey marinated with melted butter overnight, then topped with ice cream soda, salted caramel and vanilla foam. What you get is a sweet, creamy, buttery whiskey-based cocktail that is strong and delicious!

Charlie & The Chocolate Factory

As I usually prefer rum in my cocktails, and also love chocolate very much, the bartender closest to me at the bar counter recommended that I pick Charlie & The Chocolate Factory as my second choice. This beauty took some effort to make but basically it is Pampero Blanco Rum mixed with chocolate liqueur, vanilla, whipping cream and egg, then topped with cocoa dust and mini marshmallows. A true yummy delight, it tastes even better if you give it a good stir. Its ABV is also definitely stronger than the Harry Potter!

The Artful Dodger

In between my cocktails, I moseyed down the bar counter to check out the other guests’ choices. This fancy fruity baby is The Artful Dodger (from Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist), a medium dry, sherry and port-based cocktail, ordered by a guest who also generously provided us with great lighting from his video light lamp, bless him!

Mary Poppins

The sweet guest who sat next to me ordered the sweet red vermouth-based Mary Poppins which actually has a cute way of serving – the bartender completes the drink by placing a spoon with sugar across the classy wine globet which will then be poured into the cocktail. “A Spoonful of Sugar”, geddit? Believe me, it was really cute…

Mr Bean

You can’t do Britain icons without Rowan Atkinson’s Mr Bean, which was the cocktail the sweet sud’s friend ordered. The Bol’s Genever gin-based cocktail is green because of the blend of pandan with matcha tea and soy milk. Cuteness is complete when the cocktail is topped with Mr Bean’s beloved teddy bear in cocoa powder.

Sherlock Holmes / Sweeney Todd

The Sherlock Holmes cocktail, borrowed from yet another guest, doesn’t really look exciting but then again, you would expect the 221B detective to enjoy a drink that looks exactly like that! The smoky cognac and whiskey-based concoction is said to be “strong and balanced”. Meanwhile, served in a chilled globet looking bloody red—complete with a tinted-red rim—by the bartender at top right was easily recognized as the tequila-based Sweeney Todd (aka the Demon Barber of Fleet Street).

Jack Sparrow / Paddington Bear

Must say that practically none of The Monarchy’s Folklore & Fiction cocktails seem easy to make. The bar team really went the whole nine yards to deliver one-of-a-kind cocktails. Take Jack Sparrow (pictured above left) for instance: the rum-based cocktail served in a bronze mug has so many layers, from crushed ice to various garnishes, and seared with a blow torch spray too! (Never ever thought of the Pirates of the Caribbean character as British, but maybe it’s because he’s based on The Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards…)

As for Paddington Bear (above right), the gin-based cocktail is one of the rare ones that uses a tall glass and hence requires an elongated ice-cube—”So that it gets chilled longer”, says the bartender preparing it⁠—and its garnishes include a gummy bear!

The Ultra Lounge

Whilst showing me the way to the restroom, one of the servers also introduced me to The Monarchy’s Ultra Lounge which is a cool secluded area with its own bar and great for private parties. Here, the portraits are more of celebrities the likes of Audrey Hepburn and Helen Mirren. Apparently every painting at the premises is available for sale.

Musings on the M49 is really chuffed to be invited for The Monarchy’s new British-centric cocktail menu, truly had a fun time. If you love trying new cocktails and everything British, do check out the Tras Street bar’s Folklore & Fiction cocktails (priced at S$22++ each) which will be available for the next couple of months.

The Monarchy is at 56/58 Tras Street. Opening hours: Tue-Sat from 6pm till late. Ultra Lounge opening hours: Fri 10pm-3am, Sat and PH Eve 10pm-4am. Tel: +65 98003787.

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Top 5 Highlights Of ‘Walking With Dinosaurs – The Live Experience’

Mama T-Rex eyeing the audience in Walking With Dinosaurs - The Live Experience. [Photo: Marguerita Tan]

“Open the door, get on the floor, everybody walk the dinosaur!” Ever since the globally-acclaimed show, Walking with Dinosaurs, arrived on our sunny shores weeks ago, the catchy refrain from the 1988 Was (Not Was) hit, “Walk The Dinosaur”, kept playing in my head. When opening night for the live arena spectacular came last Thursday at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, I still didn’t get a chance to walk with a dinosaur, but I sure saw a good lot of them doing, well, a whole lot of things!

Based on the 1999 award-winning BBC docu-series of the same name, Walking with Dinosaurs – The Live Experience is a US$20 million (S$27.7m) production that features 18 life-sized dinosaurs—the tallest of which is almost three-stories high!—comprising nine different species and operated by skilled performers who bring them to life.

WWD paleontologist Huxley hosts and narrates the theatrical show amidst vibrant lights, projections and special effects. [Photo: Marguerita Tan]

Through the show’s paleontologist Huxley, the audience is given a 200-million-year paleontology lesson deftly compressed into a 100-minute show (with a 20-min interval) filled with special lighting and projection effects, and not forgetting, some amazingly realistic-looking dinosaurs!

Musings on the M49 was delighted to be invited to the Walking with Dinosaurs‘ opening night rehearsal (partial) and performance. A unique educational yet fun show for both young and old—and a real treat especially if you are a big dinosaur fan—here are the top 5 highlights of Walking with Dinosaurs – The Live Experience.

Walking with Dinosaurs – The Live Experience: Top 5 Highlights

5. Battle of the Torosauruses

Territorial Torosauruses on the Warpath.[Photo: Marguerita Tan]

A herbivorous dinosaur, the Torosaurus immediately catches your eye thanks to its hardy elongated frill and two long sharp horns atop its bulky head and build. And when two of them are strolling around and grunting at each other, you know they are going to lock horns when they come head to head. For every big dinosaur, a team of three people is required to operate it – two puppeteers called Voodoos (who handle various movements) and one driver who makes it walk on steerable polyurethane wheels (the thick plank-like structure seen between the dino’s legs pictured above).

4. Carnivore & Herbivore Fight

Let’s face it, even among us humans, meat eaters and vegetarians seldom see eye to eye (thankfully, just a small faction). But in prehistoric times, the herbivore IS unfortunately meat for its carnivore counterpart, represented here by the Stegosaurus and Allosaurus respectively. The Stegosaurus, highly recognizable by its broad, upright plates, has a spiky tail which it uses primarily for defence and which, as you can see in the video above, it is furiously swinging for dear life as it tries to avoid being dinner for the rampaging Allosaurus.

3. Snappy Utahraptors Eating Their Prey

Fast and snappy, the carnivorous Utahraptors.[Photo: Marguerita Tan]

At just 2.5m tall, Utahraptors may look scrawny compared to their massive counterparts, but they are fascinating to watch as they move and run very fast because of their size. And also being meat eaters, they have no qualms of eating one of their own, or hunting down large herbivores in packs of two or three. Brrr!

Performance-wise, it is also very intriguing as these critters are small enough to be operated physically by one puppeteer in a costume suit (which alone could weigh about 35-40kg), simulating not only limb movements but everything from the eyes to the tail to even the sounds the creature makes.

2. Mama T-Rex Rescuing Baby T-Rex

Mama T-Rex(top left): "Nobody puts baby in the corner!" [Photo: Marguerita Tan]

Hell hath no fury like a Mama T-Rex’s wrath. When a tiny scruffy Tyrannosaurus Rex came galloping out, everyone thought it was oh-so-cute until it was caught between a rock and a hard place – or, more specifically, the armored porcupine-like Ankylosaurus and the winning Torosaurus from an earlier scene. Just when we thought Baby T-Rex is going to end up as dino snack, out came ferocious Mama T-Rex, in all her 7m x 13m glory, showing the two predators exactly who’s boss.

Mama and Baby T-Rex sharing a tender moment. [Photo: Marguerita Tan]

It’s no wonder that WWD touring director Ian Waller calls the T-Rex the “star of the show”. The moment the towering adult T-Rex steps into the arena, first as a silhouette, then under the spotlight, its imposing build is not only instantly recognizable but also extremely intimidating. Yet the creature also shows an inquisitive nature (as it looks over the audience, see top main picture), plus a tender side when consoling its precious baby.

1.The Brachiosaurus Ballet

The T-Rex may be the superstar but if truth be told, the graceful long-necked Brachiosaurus is the one that took my breath away. Measuring 11m tall and 17m from head to tail, it is also the biggest dinosaur on the show. And Baby Brachiosaurus ain’t exactly tiny either (unlike baby T-Rex) – it is just a tad smaller at 9m tall and 15m long. And it also needs its mama to rescue it from bullies and/or predators. There is a moment in the show where the pair just glides around, occasionally munching on greens, as if waltzing to a ballet. Simply lovely. And even though you know it is not real, you just can’t not wave to Mama Brachiosaurus when she is looking directly at you during the show!

WALKING WITH DINOSAURS: BEHIND THE SCENES

At the Walking with Dinosaurs rehearsal, besides the rare opportunity of seeing and filming selected scenes of the show itself, Musings on the M49 also had the chance to hear Lead Voodoo Puppeteer, Amanda Maddock (above left), showing us various equipment used by Voodoo puppeteers and drivers to operate the large dinosaurs.

One Voodoo will operate head and tail gross motion, while the other is in charge of minor movements such as jaw, blinking and sounds. As you can see on the keyboard machine (above right), the sounds that can be made include snorts, roars and even farts! Yes, modern-day puppetry has come a long way since the days of using just fingers and strings!

Walking With Dinosaurs – The Live Experience runs until Sept 8, 2019 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. Performances : Tue-Fri 7pm; Sat-Sun: 10.30am, 2:30pm and 6:30pm. Tickets: $78-$148 from www.sportshubtix.sg/WWD2019

All photos by Marguerita Tan. No text or images from this post are to be used without the blog author’s permission.

Walking With Dinosaurs: The Man Who Brings A Life-Sized Baby T-Rex To Life

Neal Holmes (left) in costume as Baby T-Rex at the Walking with Dinosaurs press conference in Singapore.

I still remember the goosebumps I had when I first saw the animated yet so realistic-looking dinosaurs in Steven Spielberg’s 1993 blockbuster hit, Jurassic Park. So when there was a chance to meet and interview the man behind the Baby T-Rex from Walking With DinosaursThe Live Experience (WWD), I didn’t hesitate to say yes!

Based on the 1999 acclaimed BBC TV documentary series of the same name, the US$20 million (S$27.7m) live arena spectacular originated in Australia in 2007 and went on to become “the biggest and best dinosaur show in the world”. Last here nine years ago, Walking With DinosaursThe Live Experience will run at the Singapore Indoor Stadium from August 29 to September 8, 2019.

Musings on the M49 was thus chuffed to be invited to the Walking With Dinosaurs media conference held at Capitol Theatre, where a life-sized Baby T-Rex, operated by British performer Neal Holmes, was the featured star.

ON THE FLOOR WITH A BABY DINOSAUR

Baby T-Rex mingling with the audience at the WWD press call!

The baby Tyrannosaurus Rex—to give its scientific name in full—is but one of the 18 life-sized dinosaurs, operated by skilled performers via animatronics and physical puppetry, featured in the highly successful Walking with Dinosaurs arena show. Using state-of-the-art technology, lighting effects and projection, the 100-minute show is presented as a theatrical story of the prehistoric creatures’ 200-million-year existence on Earth.

Nine species from the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods will be represented. You can expect Mama T-Rex to be super huge, but it will not be the biggest dinosaur on show — that honor goes to the Brachiosaurus which measures at 11 metres tall and 17 metres from nose to tail!

WWD resident director Ian Waller introducing the Baby T-Rex.

After introducing Baby-T—as it is affectionately called—WWD resident director Ian Waller filled us in with details of what the young critter is like, what went into the production of the show, and what we can expect from the live performance.

As he was talking, Baby T continued to strut around, doing its own thing as what you’d expect an inquisitive creature would do. Truth be told, puppeteer Neal Holmes’ movements were so realistic that at times you simply forgot that it is just a human being in a fancy costume!

One of the lucky kids who got to pose with the Baby T-Rex!

Highlight for everyone was without doubt the photo op with Baby T in all its glory. Many of the kids in attendance were thrilled; one even came clad in a green dinosaur head costume! “Generally, kids love dinosaurs,” Holmes would confirm later during the interview session. Most adults were thrilled to bits too (especially yours truly)!

TALKING WITH THE MAN IN THE DINOSAUR SUIT

The man who makes Baby T-Rex comes to life!

It was exactly 10 years ago when Briton Neal Holmes, then a fitness instructor, went for an audition in London, not knowing exactly what was required, and ended up with an agent plus a full-time job as a dinosaur puppeteer all within a week.

With the Baby T-Rex costume weighing about 35-40kg, the job is needless to say, physically demanding but the now 35-year-old, who has a background in acrobatics and parkour, takes it all in his stride. Not only does he have to walk and run like a dinosaur, Holmes also controls other movements of the “baby” creature from the eyes to the tail.

Revealing that he can’t really see much out of the suit, one key thing Holmes has learnt to be extra mindful of while performing is to “not bump into things, or run into other dinosaurs”. Depending on demand, performances could be as many as three shows a day, or nine shows during weekends.

Neal Holmes speaking to the media at the WWD press call.

When Musings on the M49 asked whether has anything gone wrong for him during performances, Holmes admitted that “the worst is falling over.”

He elaborated: “I’ve never been injured, but it could be due to a slippery stage or just an error. ‘Cos with big dinosaur feet, it could happen when you cross your legs. It’s quite difficult to get out of. That’s probably the silliest thing I’ve ever done.”

But there’s help when such mishaps occur. “Stage people will look out for you and rush out to pick you up. If you are okay and not injured, and the suit is okay, you just continue from where you left off.”

After a decade as a dinosaur puppeteer, Holmes also realizes that “less is more” when it comes to performing.

“It is easy to do too much in puppetry, so I’m careful in not going too crazy like a puppy dog (when portraying a baby T-Rex), but to allow for moments of stillness. The (dinosaur) suit itself looks amazing just standing still, so to just allow those moments to happen ‘cos there are so much other things going on,” he explained.

Walking With Dinosaurs – The Live Experience runs from Aug 29 to Sept 8, 2019 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. Performances : Tue-Fri 7pm; Sat-Sun: 10.30am, 2:30pm and 6:30pm. Tickets: $78-$148 from www.sportshubtix.sg/WWD2019

All photos by Marguerita Tan. No text or images from this post are to be used without the blog author’s permission.

Disney’s ‘Aladdin’ The Musical – 8 Reasons To See The Show

If you are a fan of Disney’s Aladdin, 2019 has been a good year.

On the week that the 2019 live-action adaptation of the beloved 1992 animated film crossed the magical US$1 billion (S$1.36b) mark at the global box office, the hit Broadway adaptation made its debut in Singapore and is entertaining audiences in a whole new way.

Boasting energizing song-and-dance sequences, amazing sets and effects, and stunning costumes, Aladdin the musical—which is based on the 1992 Oscar-winning film—premiered on Broadway in 2014 with book by playwright Chad Beguelin, music by Alan Menken, and lyrics by Howard Ashman, Tim Rice and Beguelin. Singapore will be the only Asian stop and final run for this Aladdin tour.

Musings on the M49 was chuffed to be invited to the official opening night at Sands Theatre in Marina Bay Sands. Here are eight reasons why Aladdin the musical is a must-see, especially if you are a fan of the Disney films or musicals in general. (Aladdin Photos Credit: Base Entertainment Asia)

1. “Friend Like Me”

The Genie’s signature song in the treasure-hoarding Cave of Wonders is a spectacular 14-minute showstopper comprising breath-taking choreography and cool magical effects. The scene-stealer was without question Gareth Jacobs whose creative genius as the Genie made the vibrant and pulsating sequence an absolute joy to watch.

2. “A Whole New World”

The Oscar-winning song is a timeless classic and watching Aladdin (Graeme Isaako) and Princess Jasmine (Shubshri Kandiah) singing it while seemingly flying on a magic carpet for real on stage is simply a thrill – even though you know it is manoeuvred by a special albeit well-hidden contraption. Easily the show’s second top highlight, drawing lots of oohs and aahs from the audience.

3. A Genie Like No Other

He’s not blue (except for his costume) and does not appear vaporizing from a lamp, but Gareth Jacobs’ Genie totally stole the show from the word go. He sang and danced with gusto, and his wisecracking had the audiences in stitches. His shout-outs to Singapore at appropriate times was a nice touch as well.

4. Classic And New Tunes Combo
Besides the unforgettable tunes from the 1992 film such as “Arabian Nights”, “One Jump Ahead” and “Prince Ali”, fans can savor seven new songs in the musical. Menken and Beguelin wrote four tunes specially for the stage production and these are “These Palace Walls”, “A Million Miles Away”, “Diamond in the Rough” and “Somebody’s Got Your Back”. Also included are three songs by Menken and Ashman that were cut from the original film – “Proud of Your Boy”, “Babkak, Omar, Aladdin, Kassim” and “High Adventure”. Let’s hope for future productions, they will consider adding “Speechless”, Princess Jasmine’s empowering anthem from the 2019 megahit, too!

5. Stunning Set Design

From the colorful mythical city of Agrabah, to the Sultan and Princess Jasmine’s luxurious palace, to the gold-glittering Cave of Wonders, the show’s 500 captivating sets, props and backdrops are to be lauded. The audience is easily transported to every location in a blink of an eye, whether it is a Middle Eastern-influenced marketplace or a cave in a dark, isolated desert.

6. Shining, Shimmering, Splendid Costumes

The costumes in Aladdin have to be one of the most vibrant and sparkling set of outfits I’ve ever seen in a musical. And this is thanks to some 1000 fabrics and half a million Swarovski crystals that were used to make and decorate the 300+ costumes in the show. There was so much sparkle, they should have warned us to wear shades…

7. Incredible Special Effects
Besides a believable flying magic carpet, the show also employs a great number of whoa-inducing magical effects on stage such as slide of hand tricks, disappearing box acts, and quick change illusions, some of which were even executed effortlessly during song sequences.

8. Funny Bytes Galore
Thanks to some great one-liners and hilarious ad-libs, there were plenty of laugh-out-loud moments that didn’t just materializes out of the Genie, but also from supporting characters such as Jafar (Patrick R Brown) and his scheming sidekick, Iago (Doron Chester). I would arguably say there were more laughs generated from the musical than from the cinematic version!

All in all, Aladdin the musical is great fun, a spectacular that is easily enjoyed by both young and old. Though the first half felt a tad draggy (though understandably having to introduce every key character), the show nonetheless does present a whole new world of Disney’s Aladdin that is truly worth a watch.

Rewind: At the Aladdin Red Carpet
Attending stage shows, it is always fun to see people dress up for the occasion or are game to participate in entertaining activities. Prior to the show’s start on opening night, we witnessed a few folks who shook a tail feather or two on the “purple” carpet! (Photos by Marguerita Tan)

For starters, you always want to give a thumb’s up when theatre goers take the trouble to dress up according to the theme of the show!

And from the young to the young-at-heart, a few were sporting enough to sing ‘A Whole New World’ in front of cameras!

And here’s some of the famous faces spotted: 2009 Singapore Idol Sezairi Sazali (left) and author/humor writer Sylvia Toh Paik Choo (far right)

Aladdin the Broadway musical plays at the Sands Theatre in Marina Bay Sands, Singapore till Sept 1, 2019. Performances: Tue to Fri, 7.30pm; Sat 2pm & 7.30pm; and Sun 1pm & 6.30pm. Tickets from $68++ from www.sistic.com and www.marinabaysands.com/ticketing.

Read also:
* Top 10 Songs by Disney Princesses – From “Let It Go” to “Speechless”

‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8 – The Final ‘Beautiful Death’ Poster Series By Robert Ball

And now our watch has ended.

After eight enthralling seasons, Game of Thrones finally came to an end in May 2019 and, needless to say, deaths of key characters came fast and furious in the short but eventful 6-episode final season.

It’s been a few weeks since the series finale, but UK-based artist Robert Ball eventually revealed the final Beautiful Death poster, the last of his incredible 74-poster series featuring the show’s iconic deaths that started way back in 2011 when Game of Thrones first premiered on HBO.

Let’s take a look at the final poster from “The Iron Throne”:

Beautiful Death GOT S806: “You are my Queen. Now and Always.”

The poster features two key deaths – that of the Iron Throne, under the fiery breath of Drogon, and that of one of the series’ most beloved characters, Daenerys Targaryen, at the hand of her lover/nephew/rival heir to the Iron Throne, Jon Snow. The key phrase is Jon’s last words to Dany before he fatally buries the knife into her heart, becoming a Queenslayer and Kinslayer in one fell swoop.

It’s amazing how Ball depicts Daenerys dying along with the burning Iron Throne, complete with Jon’s knife sticking at where her heart would be. As the Throne is engulfed in rubble made up of “1000 swords of Ageon’s enemies”, the red trail also outlines the bloody journey that the dragon queen took to get to the Red Keep including the deaths of her brother Viserys, the Sons of the Harpy, the Dothraki khals, slavemasters’ ships, etc. The look is meant to be gothic but it’s probably a coincidence that red and black also just happened to be the colors of House Targaryen.

Ultimately, as Ball informs makinggameofthrones.com, the poster is about “how power corrupts all” and is “an encapsulation of the whole series”.

Read also:
*‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8: The 12 Most Memorable Moments from the Final Season
*‘Game Of Thrones’ Season 8 Episode 6: The 20 Best Quotes From the Series Finale, “The Iron Throne”

And now that his watch has ended, here’s Robert Ball’s 5 other Beautiful Death posters from the final season of Game of Thrones.

Beautiful Death GOT S805: “Hello, Big Brother.”

Although I was somehow glad that the artist didn’t opt to focus on Daenery’s horrific heel turn of causing thousands of deaths in King’s Landing after the city’s surrender in “The Bells”, I felt the deaths of key main characters, Cersei and Jaime Lannister, should have garnered more importance over the deaths of the Clegane brothers in the episode. Cleganebowl was fascinating but a “Nothing Else Matters” poster featuring the Lannister siblings as the Red Keep and the city collapse around them could have been more poignant.

Read also:
*‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8: The 15 Best Quotes from Episode 5, “The Bells”

Beautiful Death GOT S804: “Dracarys.”

The Mother of Dragons may have popularised the High Valyrian term which means “dragonfire”, but fans will arguably remember Missandei’s last word much more now as it is the final straw that “awoke the dragon” that is Daenerys Stormborn. After the deaths of Ser Jorah Mormont, thousands of her Dothraki and Unsullied troops, and Rhaegal, seeing her best friend killed as well in a short period of just two episodes, you just know that fire and blood is coming to King’s Landing in the very next episode, courtesy of the dragon queen and her WMD that is Drogon. The poster shows Missandei’s last moment before she is executed by the Mountain as her dream to retire to the beaches of Naath with lover Grey Worm vaporises into thin air.

Read also:
*‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8: The 20 Best Quotes From Episode 4, ‘The Last of the Starks’

Beautiful Death GOT S803: “Not Today.”

Melisandre, Theon Greyjoy, Ser Jorah Mormont, Ser Beric Dondarrion, Lyanna Mormont, Dolorous Edd, Qhono, and last but by no means least, the Night King. There were key deaths aplenty in “The Long Night” and Ball decided to feature all of them instead of just one for the Episode 3 poster. It was never a doubt, but after Arya Stark’s epic slaying of The Night King, “Not Today” will definitely go down as one of the most iconic quotes from Game of Thrones, two words that we could all say to the god of death when the critical moment arrives (if need be).

Read also:
*’Game of Thrones’ Season 8: The 12 Best Quotes From Episode 3, “The Long Night”

Beautiful Death GOT S802: “…But at least We Die Together.”

“A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” was a rare Game of Thrones episode where there was not a single death to report. Easily the best episode of Season 8–beautifully written by Bryan Cogman–the best scenes came from the fireplace ensemble in Winterfell’s Great Hall where Tyrion and Jaime Lannister, (pre Ser) Brienne of Tarth, Podrick, Ser Davos Seaworth and Tormund Giantsbane gathered to prepare for the upcoming war against the undead in which survival is very unlikely. Surprisingly, despite the quote by Tormund (which he uttered in the war council meeting and not in this scene), all six characters survived the Great War. Turn the poster upside down to see four of them drawn onto the floor…

Read also:
*‘Game Of Thrones’ Season 8: The 15 Best Quotes from Episode 2, “A Knight Of The Seven Kingdoms”

Beautiful Death GOT S801: “It’s a Message from the Night King.”

The first Beautiful Death poster of Season 8 sees Ser Beric Dondarrion and Tormund Giantsbane flanking Ned Umber as the poor lad resurrected as a wight while pinned onto a wall with a spiral of human limbs at Last Hearth. The Night King’s message is that he and his minions are on the way to Winterfell. The more worrying message though is how Ball bathes Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen’s romantic moment in a bloody waterfall, with Jon’s cape drawn to look like a dragon’s wing, indicating the sledgehammer revelation of his true parentage that is to come by the episode’s end.

Read also:
*‘Game Of Thrones’: The 12 Best Quotes From The Season 8 Premiere
*The 20 Best Tyrion Lannister Quotes from ‘Game of Thrones’ Seasons One to Eight

Robert Ball’s complete Game of Thrones’ Beautiful Death series can be seen at https://beautifuldeath.com/

‘Game Of Thrones’ Season 8 Episode 1’s ‘Beautiful Death’ Poster Features The Night King’s Message

It was when I attended the Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience featuring Ramin Djawadi in Belfast last year that I discovered the Beautiful Death art series by artist Robert Ball. I wanted a memento from the concert and the concert merchandise that caught my eye was a colorful poster featuring a dozen of artistic depictions of memorable death scenes from the first seven seasons of the HBO blockbuster series.

From the Business Insider, I learnt that the London-based illustrator has been producing an artwork after every GOT episode where there’s a key death sequence since Season 1, with HBO providing him via e-mail with the “quote from the week”, as well as the subject for the week’s “beautiful death”.

(WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD FOR GAME OF THRONES’ SEASON 8 EPISODE 1 IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCH THE EPISODE.)

With the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones kicking off this month, Ball has released his first Beautiful Death poster which features the horrific death of young Ned Umber at Last Hearth in the premiere episode. You can see the beautifully illustrated poster below:

“It’s A Message From the Night King…”

The quote is uttered by Ser Beric Dondarrion after he set the dead Umber lad on fire when he resurrected as a wight while pinned onto a wall with a spiral of human limbs. Hence you can see the six-time born-again lightning lord (left centre) and Tormund Giantsbane (right centre) flanking the image of Ned Umber as it was them who found the young lord at Last Hearth. The Night King has his icy hands around the boy to show how he was used as a tool to relay a message to the living.

“Nothing Lasts…” – Varys

What’s worrying is that Ball has also drawn in Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen’s romantic moment by the waterfall except that the couple is now bathed in bloody waters. That’s not good news. The cool bit is how Ball made Jon’s cape to look like the wing of a dragon indicating the sledgehammer revelation that is to come by the end of the episode.

The “foreshadowing” is in line with another theme from the Season 8 premiere episode which implies that “youth and happiness, and Jon and Daenerys’ brief moments together, will ‘never last’”, as Ball informed makingameofthrones.com. (Sob.)

Read also:
* 8 ‘Game of Thrones’ Fan Theories About Daenerys Targaryen’s Endgame
* ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8: The 20 Best Quotes From Episode 4, ‘The Last of the Starks’
*’Game of Thrones’ Season 8: The 12 Best Quotes From Episode 3, “The Long Night”
* ‘Game Of Thrones’ Season 8: The 15 Best Quotes from Episode 2, “A Knight Of The Seven Kingdoms”
* ‘Game Of Thrones’: The 12 Best Quotes From The Season 8 Premiere
‘Game of Thrones’: Who’s Likely to Die in Season 8?

Iconic Beautiful Death Posters – Seasons 1-7

As Season 8’s well-scripted Episode 2, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms”, is one of the rare GOT episodes not to feature a single death, it’s safe to say there won’t be a Beautiful Death artpiece released this week.
(UPDATE: I was wrong, there was a poster and a good one too which you can see at this link here.)

So, let’s take a look back at the most iconic Beautiful Death moments from the past seven seasons by Robert Ball:

The Execution of Ned Stark
Season 1 Episode 9

The Battle of Blackwater
Season 2 Episode 9

The Red Wedding
Season 3 Episode 9

Ygritte’s Demise at Castle Black
Season 4 Episode 9

Massacre at Hardhome
Season 5 Episode 8

Destruction of the Sept of Baelor
Season 6 Episode 10

Loot Train Attack
Season 7 Episode 4

Game of Thrones Season 8 is on Sundays (USA) / Mondays (Asia) till May 19, with a special two-hour documentary, Game of Thrones: The Last Watch, on May 26.

Read also:
7 ‘Game of Thrones’ Fan Theories About the Crypts of Winterfell
* ‘Game of Thrones’: Eight Things You Should Know About The Battle of Winterfell in Season Eight
* ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8: Why Jon Snow May Use Greatsword Dawn to Slay the Night King

First Look At Stars Of Disney’s ‘Aladdin’ The Musical @ Marina Bay Sands

Aladdin the Broadway musical will stage its first and only Asian stop in Singapore at
the Sands Theatre in July 2019. [Photo Credit: Base Entertainment Asia]

Good news if you are a fan of Disney’s Aladdin. This year, not only you will get to see the live-action adaptation of the 1992 Oscar-winning animated film in May, its hit Broadway theatrical production will also make its debut here in Singapore, its only stop in Asia, at Marina Bay Sands in July.

So it was a thrill when Musings on the M49 was invited to the media launch for Aladdin the musical for which its three leading stars–namely Gareth Jacobs (Genie), Graeme Isaako (Aladdin) and Shubshri Kandiah (Jasmine)–flew in specially to publicise the show.

The event was held at Sands Theatre at an auditorium behind the main stage. Besides drinks and canapés, there were also costumes from the show set up on site for guests to admire up close.

Aladdin, which tells the story of a street urchin who wins the heart of a princess with the help of a genie, promises to present the most lavish sets, vibrant costumes and
stunning special effects ever to be seen at the Sands Theatre.

The musical, which made its world premiere on Broadway in 2014 , will have over 330 glittering costumes, featuring more than 1000 fabrics and almost half a million Swarovski crystals. Its mega sets include the fantasy city of Agrabah, the Sultan’s palace, and the legendary Cave of Wonders.

Songs Maketh the Musical
And not forgetting of course, the Oscar-winning score and songs by Alan Menken with lyrics by Howard Ashman, Tim Rice and Chad Beguelin (who also wrote the book). The musical features five songs from the beloved animated film including the all-time classic, ‘A Whole New World’, plus a few more written specially for the stage version.

The charming Graeme Isaako is Aladdin.

After opening addresses by the good people responsible for bringing in Aladdin, we were introduced first to the Sydney-born, New Zealand-raised Graeme Isaako who plays the titular character. Armed with a dazzling smile and “K-pop hair” (his words, not mine), the singer/dancer/actor spoke on how hard he had to work for the show, especially as Aladdin is a very energetic character for whom parkour skills are required, besides singing and dancing abilities. Issako, who made his musical debut in 2002, then showed off his smooth vocals when he performed ‘Proud Of Your Boy’, a ballad that was cut from the original film.

Shubshri Kandiah singing the cherished duet, ‘A Whole New World’,
with Graeme Isaako.

Next up was Shubshri Kandiah who hails from Queensland and who won the role of Jasmine in the Australian production of Aladdin straight after graduating from university in 2017. The radiant artiste disclosed how delighted she is to play a princess who is “feisty and independent” and “close to my heart”. After revealing that one of her favorite songs in the stage musical is ‘A Million Miles Away’, in which Jasmines sings about her dreams, she teamed up with Isaako to sing the all-time favorite, ‘A Whole New World’, which thrilled the audience no end.

Gareth Jacobs, who plays the Genie, performing the showstopper ‘Friend Like Me’ complete with backup singers.

Finally, we met with the Genie himself in the form of Gareth Jacobs who has led the Australian touring company in this role from Melbourne, Australia to Auckland, New Zealand. After revealing that Aladdin was the very first film he saw as a nine-year-old, Jacobs informed us that his favorite moments of doing the stage musical are performing the 15-minute showstopper, ‘Friend Like Me’; being shot out of a cannon; and improvising jokes. Most of all though, it was meeting his idol, composer Alan Menken, in person when he first took on the role.

Gareth Jacobs as Genie and Graeme Isaako as Aladdin in one of the big production numbers in Aladdin the musical. [Photo Credit: Base Entertainment Asia]

When asked if he will do anything exclusively for the Singapore show, Jacobs–who had previously lived and worked in Singapore for five years–affirmed that he (as the Genie) often tells some jokes that is relevant to the city the show is playing at and so local audiences here will have to “watch and find out!” He then ended his segment with a rousing performance of ‘Friend Like Me’ with the help of two sassy back-up singers.

Yours truly with the talented Aladdin cast
AND a magic lamp!

After a Q&A session, the cast generously posed for photos with almost everyone who was present, complete with magic lamp. Alas, I didn’t get a chance to rub it and make a wish, let alone wishes three. Still, I got to hold it and got close to a smiling genie, so that’s good enough for me!

Aladdin the Broadway musical plays at the Sands Theatre at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore from July 21, 2019. Performances: Tue to Fri, 7.30pm; Sat 2pm & 7.30pm; and Sun 1pm & 6.30pm. Tickets from $68++ from www.marinabaysands.com/ticketing or www.sistic.com.

Unless stated, all photos by Marguerita Tan. No text or images from this post are to be used without the blog author’s permission.